Oregon State Not Liable for Limiting Student Newspaper’s Distribution on Campus

This just in: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Oregon State University claiming the school effectively censored a conservative student newspaper by limiting its distribution on campus.

As I first reported last June, the student editor of The Liberty had claimed aggrieved status because the publication was forced to distribute copies in only a few bins at certain spots on campus- a bum rap compared to the more comprehensive distribution rights bestowed upon The Daily Barometer.  According to a local TV news report at the time, OSU admins said the Barometer was the only recognized student publication at the university and “therefore is the only newspaper allowed special distribution.  The Liberty says that’s censorship.”

Click on the image to watch a video news report from June 2009 about the fight leading to the lawsuit.

A judge disagreed, siding with the school’s contention “that there was no basis for discrimination.”  The underlying message of the suit’s dismissal: A university has a right to afford its official student publications with certain privileges not offered to alternative, independent or underground outlets, including increased distribution rights.  (Read about Syracuse University’s recent cafeteria distribution issue.)

Oregon State’s news and communications director declared the fight more a publicity stunt than an actual free press battle: “This was very much an exercise in increased visibility. The story line: a big, oppressive, liberal university squelches a small, defenseless, conservative magazine. We’re glad this matter has been resolved.”

One Response to “Oregon State Not Liable for Limiting Student Newspaper’s Distribution on Campus”
  1. Lorene Farnsworth says:

    I’m sure I would hate this newspaper, however it should be

    allowed equal access in spite of its message. That’s what it’s

    all about, isn’t it?